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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour CTBC Ladies Classic Second-Round Recap
Date:2018-03-30

A multi-record-breaking run on the back nine at Guangzhou’s Dragon Lake Asian Games Course by Taiwan’s Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) buoyed her up to the top of the leaderboard at the RMB800,000 CTBC Ladies Classic. Chen shot an inward 28, contributing to a low-round 66, and sit three strokes clear at 7-under 137 going into the final-round. The winner tomorrow at the TLPGA Tour and China LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event will pocket RMB120,000.

The 20-year-old capitalized on the soft conditions, as rains struck and the “preferred lies” rule was forced in place, to close her round with seven straight birdies. In fact, she needed only 9 putts on the back nine; besides a par finish on the 11th, she birdied all other holes and wrote Tour records of most consecutive birdies and the lowest back-nine. Despite both records not being able to be listed in official record books because of the favorable preferred lies rule, Chen’s proud of her memorable round and a number of personal bests which include lowest nine-hole/back-nine, lowest nine-hole/back-nine putt count, and most birdies in a row.

“It wasn’t the most ideal start definitely. I felt lethargic and my vision felt a bit wavy,” said Chen, who three-putted twice during her outward ride, made one birdie and three bogeys to go 2-over 38 at the turn. “When I got onto the 10th tee, I noticed there were cameras on me. I kind of was shouting at myself silently that I needed to raise my level. And I did. I made a 21-foot birdie putt on that hole. It really kind of boosted my confidence and I felt I suddenly hit a very good form that surprisingly didn’t drop till the end.” Chen went on to pick up seven birdies in a row from the 12th to the final 18th.

“I attacked the pin pretty well,” Chen recalled. “On the back nine, I thought I only have to face two 15-footers on the green on par-5 14th and par-3 17th, on the rest of the holes, it was all pretty smooth with shorter putts.” She used 26 putts throughout all eighteen holes, but only 9 of them were added from the back-nine.

Having turned pro in 2014, Chen won a 36-hole TLPGA “Heritage Tour” event last June, her first pro title of any kind, but still waiting for her first victory in an official 54 or 72-hole tournament. Her best finish on the TLPGA Tour has been solo or equal second on seven occasions, most recently at the TLPGA & Royal Open six months ago. Chen closed the 2017 season also second on the money list.

“I’ve almost got used to coming out second, so used to it that I don’t feel nervous about playing as the leader in the field at all,” Chen said. “I hope the nothing-to-lose mentality will help me to finally go one step further.”

Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵) (69) needed also just 26 putts on the day to climb up into an eight-way tie for fourth at 143 with amateur Chen Hsuan (陳萱) (74) and six other players. Chen, who shot 69 yesterday, struggled with her putter in the second round, needing 35 putts and remaining “birdie-free” throughout.

First-round leader Renuka Suksukont couldn’t carry her momentum. She carded 74 today with five bogeys and three birdies and dropped into a tie for second with her Thai compatriot Parinda Phokan (70) at 4-under 140.

CTBC Bank ambassador and 2016 CLPGA Tour money winner Shi Yuting (石昱婷) registered a 3-over 75, sitting now at equal 17th.

Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) (69) and Yeh Hsin-Ning (葉欣寧) (81), both sponsored by the CTBC Bank, faced opposite fates. The latter was sent home as only 68 players who are at 8-over 152 or better advance to Saturday. Hsieh sits in a tie for 29th at 148 with only eighteen holes to go.

The final-round play begins at 7:49 a.m.

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